Physical Change vs. Chemical Change

Main Difference

Every substance has to go through some changes that may or may not affect their nature. The two terms getting discussed here are main ones that cover the range of variations. The main difference between them is that, physical change gets defined as the ones that have an effect on the chemical substance and its formation but does not alter the chemical composition, whereas chemical change gets defined as the ones that not only have an effect on the chemical substance and its structure but also changes the chemical composition.

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Comparison Chart

Basis of Distinction Physical Change Chemical Change
Definition Have an effect on the chemical substance and its formation but does not alter the chemical composition. Not only have an effect on the chemical substance and its structure but also changes the chemical composition.
Application Mixing of sugar in milk, the freezing and boiling of water. The rusting of iron, burning of wood pieces, and breaking of an egg.
Nature Keeps the actual substance in the same combination as it was. New element is formed and energy is either absorbed or given out.
Type Reversible. Non-reversible.
Example Anything getting added in water. Hydrogen and oxygen combining to make water.
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What is Physical Change?

Physical change gets defined as the ones that have an effect on the chemical substance and its formation but does not alter the chemical composition. An important thing to know about these elements is that they become useful whenever we want to separate mixtures into other compounds but does not do the opposite of converting the compounds into the mixtures. Some of the primary examples of physical change go as follows. Whenever we take tea of coffee, most people like to mix sugar or other substances as sweeteners. Now, when sugar gets incorporated within it, the change taking place is physical because the tea of coffee itself does not go any modification, the chemical formation of the substances involved stays the same, but the addition of sugar changes its taste. Boiling of water and its freezing are other examples where the actual shape of the liquid changes to solid and gas accordingly but the water itself stays the same with two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Another critical thing here must become noticeable that such kinds of changes always show reversible nature, we get to change it back to the previous form with some action, no change that is physical anytime becomes non-reversible. They do not alter the actual identity of substance but do make shifts in the nature that make them available. No new content gets added, and the change in color, shape, the state of matter and volume define it correctly.

What is Chemical Change?

Chemical change gets defined as the ones that not only have an effect on the chemical substance and its formation but also changes the chemical composition. One important thing to know about such changes is that it always results in the formation of a new substance. When we talk about chemicals getting mixed in various proportions, we speak of a new substance. The best example of this is water, where two hydrogen atoms, combine with two oxygen atoms and result in the formation of water that becomes an entirely different entity. All the changes that occur here are non-reversible. Some of the other examples of chemical changes include the rusting of iron, even though some coating exists on such substance, the corroding takes place at a rapid rate and results in the iron converting in other kids. Burning of wood pieces another way of explaining the change where the wood becomes ashes once it combines with fire. When we break an egg and put in a pan for cooking by mixing other ingredients, such change rates as chemical because the actual form of the egg disappears and with the help of oil and steam it takes another shape. An easy way of explaining the term is to define it accurately. The process where one or more than one substances, combine with the help of a reaction and get converted into one or more substances become known as a chemical reaction or chemical change.

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Key Differences

  1. Physical change gets defined as the ones that have an effect on the chemical substance and its formation but does not alter the chemical composition, whereas chemical change gets defined as the ones that not only have an effect on the chemical substance and its structure but also changes the chemical composition.
  2. Some of the primary applications of physical change include mixing of sugar in milk, the freezing and boiling of water. On the other hand, some of the other applications of chemical changes include the rusting of iron, burning of wood pieces, and breaking of an egg.
  3. A physical change keeps the actual substance in the same combination as it was before. On the other hand, in a new element is formed and energy is either absorbed or given out during the chemical change.
  4. Physical change always shows a reversible nature, on the other hand, chemical change always shows non-reversible nature.
  5. The best example of both these changes is water, where two hydrogen atoms, combine with two oxygen atoms and result in the formation of water that becomes an entirely different entity. But whenever a new substance gets added, water chemical combination always stays the same even though the physical changes occur.

Video Explanation

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